MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Broward Sheriff’s Deputy, accused of shooting a man in the leg, plead not guilty Tuesday.READ MORE: Doral Police ID Officers Injured In Friday's Shooting
Deputy Kevin McClernon, while visiting a woman’s apartment, shot career criminal Michael Hinsch in the leg last January, according to police.
McClernon, freed on $11,000 bond, claims the shooting was in self-defense.
During a bond reduction hearing on March 10th, prosecutor David Schulson said alcohol appears to have played a role in the shooting.
“He (McClernon) had had a few drinks during the day, as recently as an hour before he was to report to his off duty detail,” Schulson told the judge. “Words were exchanged and deputy McClernon shot Mr. Hinsch once in the leg.”
Tony Alfero, McClernon’s attorney, claims the shooting was a case of self defense. He said Hinsch had a knife that McClernon had ordered him to put down several times.
“The individual who ended up being shot brandished a knife several times to him, and on the second or third knife incident, he made it clear he was not going to put the knife down and self defense becomes an issue,” said Alfero.READ MORE: Six People Hospitalized Following Boat Explosion In Dania Beach
McClernon refused to answer questions about the self defense claim when leaving the jail. His attorney said he plans to ask for a “stand your ground hearing” soon.
While arguing to lower McClernon’s bond from $52 thousand, Alfero pointed out to the court that his client was retired U.S. Marines lieutenant-colonel and a 13 year veteran of sheriff’s department with no disciplinary action. He said it was odd that prosecutors originally gave his client immunity and then took it away.
“They gave him immunity from prosecution, took at statement from him and then changed their minds and decided to send the case to the Grand Jury,” said Alferno.
The state attorney’s office claims he waived immunity. McClernon’s attorney said he did no such thing and plans to get to the bottom of it in court.
McClernon, who is facing a felony charge of aggravated battery with a firearm, and two misdemeanor charges of using a firearm while under the influence of alcoholic beverages and culpable negligence, has been suspended without pay.
The woman McClernon was visiting has more than 15 arrests, including a felony conviction for battery on a law enforcement officer. Hinsch has multiple arrests and convictions on his record. Sheriff’s Office policy forbids deputies to associate with convicted felons.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel called McClernon’s behavior criminal and said while the majority of law enforcement officers uphold their oath of office with honor, there must be consequences for those who break the law.MORE NEWS: Florida Is Ditching Palm Trees To Fight Climate Crisis
McClernon’s next court date is set for July.